Design workshop at NIAAD




Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design is located beautifully at the beginning of Entebbe. The founder dedicated his own residence with a breathtaking view over Lake Victoria, to develop this educational possibilites for talented young artists in Uganda. With a background from Makerere and due to his own success as a fine artist and sculpturor and with assistance from well-doers, an atmospheric building hosts a little over a hundred students. The students are offered boarding across the road from the facilities and admission is covered for the most talented students with a lack of financial resources.

NIAAD offers the following diploma and certificate courses; painting, sculpture, photography, printing, textile design, graphic design, drawing, fashion design, history of art and design. The different courses at the academy are pursued under the following departments; Department of Fine Art, Department of Design and Department of Art Education.

The students from NIAAD showed us some impressive work on awareness raising through graphic design, for example connected to the significant problem of unexpected teenage pregnancies. This was a contrast to the NTNU students who presented projects related to leisure and design for well-being in old age. Another contrast and learning experience for our students was the low-tech equipment used to create everything from textiles to graphic design and sculpture.










  • To set up professional international art academy in Uganda that provides artists with true artistic principles and values.
  • To preserve, promote and utilize indigenous art and design skills knowledge through training and research, fostering a sense of community pride and shared history  that leads to sustainable development
  • To create employment opportunities in the area of art and design, create and promote community awareness on human rights, social justice, cultural and environmental protection using the Arts.
  • To equip the vulnerable youth and marginalized women in the communities with art and design skills in order to encourage creativity, professionalization and entrepreneurship in the Art and cultural sectors.

Under About include History:

NIAAD first came into operation in 2009 to address the multifaceted concerns, needs and interests of many artistically talented youth, Performing Artists, Researchers, disadvantaged youth and Women. In Uganda, many school leavers successfully complete Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education but without tangible skills to become job creators. The art market is a somewhat unusual target for financial investors in Uganda given that it is known as the largest unregulated market and therefore investing in Art has always been a bit of a quagmire. Niaad as an International/local training and research centre came in to provide unbiased art market research, analysis and advice for art collectors, art professionals, art institutions and art funds in Uganda in order to encourage creativity, innovation, professionalization and entrepreneurship in the cultural /Art sector


NIAAD is affiliated to Kyambogo University and the programs offered are approved by the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda.




We spent a day at NIAAD with the purpose of documenting their work as well as discussing with NIAAD strategies for outreach.During half a day of brainstorming using creative problem solving methods, the following suggestions were made in collaboration:

– an international and a domestic strategy for outreach should be determined. The international strategy needs to define the target group for outreach and influence. Social media and clear information about how to access information about the school must be defined

– there is a conflict between the interest of the school to be focused on quality, while still wishing to expand into mulitple areas such as dancing, theatre, product designs and so on. An expansion will require a change of location and large financial investments, while the image of the school as different and quality oriented might be sacrificed

– the technical requirements for working with graphic design and visual communication are difficult to meet. Some students have little or no knowledge with using computers prior to starting their studies and this affect the quality of their projects.

– potential collaboration from NTNU would need to be on voluntary basis, as most funded research collaborations depend upon government agreements and would probably need a component of Makerere collaboration. Students from NTNU who would like an internship and who could assist students at NIAAD with technical teaching and in return learn more about fine arts could have a great learning experience.

Thank you for a wonderful day.

About Brita Fladvad Nielsen

I'm a Postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. My focus is on Smart Energy Communities in urban settings as well as design of energy-devices for emergency settings and design for humanitarian markets, especially for refugee camps in rural areas of Africa. I blog about my research approach Design Thinking on and about humanitarian design at . I am also a mother of a child who is deaf, and I blog about her language development on
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